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Ex-San José mayor and presidential dropout Johnny Araya denies rumors of party flip-flop ahead of 2016 elections

June 23, 2015

Say it ain’t so, Johnny.

Johnny Araya, the National Liberation Party’s disgraced former presidential candidate and former long-term mayor of Costa Rica’s capital, denied recent rumors that he had meetings with leaders from the Accessibility Without Exclusion Party to run for mayor next year as a member of their party.

PASE lawmaker and founder Óscar López Arias on Monday said he is aware that several party leaders over the weekend met with people close to the former PLN candidate to assess Araya’s interest in running next year. López said he is not aware of the specific details of the meeting, but that he thinks Araya would make a good candidate.

Later on Monday, Araya told Channel 7’s Telenoticias that he is unaware if any of his friends or advisers have met or are negotiating with PASE leaders. He also said he has received four requests from other parties to represent them in the Feb. 7, 2016 municipal elections, but he stressed that currently he is not considering the option of running as candidate for another party.

Araya was mayor of San José for 22 years, and following his failed bid for Costa Rica’s presidency last year, he has publicly voiced his interest in once again becoming The Big Boss of San José.  There’s just one catch – Araya is currently ineligible to run for any public post representing PLN, because last December the party’s ethics committee banned him from participating in any political activity for four years as a result of his decision to drop out of the presidential runoff race last year.

Araya left the race just one month after losing a first-round vote in February against Citizen Action Party candidate and now President Luis Guillermo Solís.

The PLN’s General Assembly earlier this month discussed Araya’s request to suspend the ban, pending a ruling on a complaint he filed before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV. The move would allow Araya to submit his bid for mayoral candidate in the meantime.

Party representatives voted against Araya’s petition and agreed to await the outcome of the Sala IV ruling.

The former mayor, however, managed to get a motion approved to ask Sala IV justices to rule on Araya’s complaint before Aug. 15, the deadline for party candidates to register for the mayoral election. Seems he really wants to be mayor again.

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